There are times as a rugby player where you have to bite your tongue so hard, you could slice it in two.
I had one of those moments last weekend when referee Alain Rolland gave a penalty try against Tigers in Treviso a good 10 metres form own line when a maul got pulled down.
My initial reaction was one of anger and amazement. Our director for rugby Richard Cockerill said he had never seen anything like it in his life because it was so far out.
There were a few of the boys biting their tongues too because you just want to say something. It’s a natural reaction.
As a rugby player though, you have to learn pretty quickly that he’ll never change his mind, so it is no point arguing. You also have to be aware that, if you do say something back to the referee, you risk getting penalised or marched down field another ten metres.
That could be the difference between a side being able to kick for three points or not - and those three points can cost you a game.
If that happens, your team mates will be quite rightly furious with you.
You soon learn, it’s not worth the risk and that teaches you to drag back any words you fancy saying at the time.
The difference between that and the situation in football matches is incredible. The sports are worlds apart in how the referee is spoken to.
If footballers said some of the things they say to a rugby referee, there would be hardly any of them left on the pitch at half-time!
In football it’s tolerated and, even if it isn’t, a yellow card doesn’t hurt the team. In rugby, a yellow card means you are off the pitch for ten minutes and your mates are forced to play a man down. That can be tiring and have an effect on your side’s ability to win as the game goes on.
It is tough in both sports to keep quiet but you have to learn to be disciplined. If we can do it in rugby, surely footballers can do the same.
Maybe they should introduce tougher penalties in football. There would hardly be anyone left on the pitch for the first few weeks and people would say it was a shambles.
But guys would quickly get the message and that would make it a better sport in the long run.